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|04-21-2008, 08:42 AM||post no: 1|
Women's Heart Screening
Rush University Medical Center, in conjunction with the 2 BigHearts Foundation, is offering a free women's heart screening to help women assess their cardiovascular risks. The screening includes an echocardiogram, an ECG, fasting blood sugar, lipid panel, height/weight/blood pressure, evaluation of waist circumference and BMI, health risk assessment, and a consultation with a cardiologist or cardiology clinician.
The free women's heart screenings will be offered at Rush by appointment only on Saturday, May 3, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Space is limited and people must register for an appointment time by calling (888) 352-RUSH. Eligibility is limited to women 21 years of age or older who have not participated in a prior screening and are not currently receiving cardiac medical care.
The funding for the screening is a combined effort of Rush and the 2 BigHearts Foundation. Jim Clarke formed 2 BigHearts after the sudden deaths of his wife and his sister-in-law on the very same day from heart disease. Both Gigi Clarke and Sally Czechanski suffered cardiac trauma as a direct result of cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart muscle. The foundation strives to increase awareness of this issue of heart disease in women.
"By telling the story of my wife and her sister I hope to stress that a similarly tragic scenario is avoidable with proper heart health education," said Clarke. "Had we known about their condition, both Gigi and Sally could have sought treatment that might have saved their lives."
This is the third free screening offered by Rush and 2 BigHearts. Results from these screenings illustrate why future screenings are so crucial to women's cardiovascular health. Out of 274 women screened, eight percent found out they had a heart abnormality and needed to see a physician. Abnormal lipid results were found in 59 percent of the women who were advised to make either lifestyle/behavior changes and/or follow-up with a physician. Of these women, 92 percent plan to make lifestyle changes related to the results of the screening, and said they plan to discuss results with their physician.
The screening at Rush includes an echocardiogram, a non-invasive ultrasound that creates images of the heart. This allows heart specialists to view the size of the heart and its motion as it beats.
Participants will also receive an electrocardiogram (ECG). In this noninvasive test, electrode patches are attached to the skin to measure electrical impulse from the heart. An ECG can show disturbances in the electrical activity of the heart, which may identify abnormal heart rhythms and areas of injury.
The screening will also focus on risk factors for women which include, high blood pressure, high total and LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, being overweight, being physically inactive, age (55 and older), and family history.
"I tell women who have several risk factors that they need to know their own bodies and how they feel when there's nothing wrong. If there is a change, such as unexplained extreme fatigue, it may be a sign that something is wrong and they should seek medical help," said cardiologist Dr. Anabelle Volgman, medical director of the Rush Heart Center for Women.
Many women ignore symptoms of cardiovascular disease because unlike the classic severe chest pain men often describe, women's symptoms tend to be more nonspecific - fatigue, nausea and shortness of breath. Women are urged to call 9-1-1 if there is sudden chest discomfort or extreme fatigue that lasts more than a few minutes.
To reduce your risk for heart disease, Volgman suggests a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise to help maintain a healthy weight and avoid diabetes. Smokers need to quit. If blood pressure and cholesterol can't be controlled through diet and exercise alone, medications can help. Prevention is important because more women than men die within the first year after a heart attack.
At the Rush Heart Center for Women, women with heart problems are diagnosed and treated with great sensitivity and innovation by a team of cardiologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, nutritionists and cardiothoracic surgeons who are supported by the comprehensive resources of a world-class academic medical center. Rush University Medical Center encompasses the more than 600 staffed-bed hospital (including Rush Children's Hospital), the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center and Rush University. Rush is noted for bringing together clinical care and research to address major health problems, including arthritis and orthopedic disorders, cancer, heart disease, mental illness, neurological disorders and diseases associated with aging.
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